"An Intimate Picture of Wilfred Campbell"

by Faith L. Malloch


 

Chapter VI


Just five years later during the summer of 1911 my father, your Aunt Margery who was not well, and I went back to England. Your grandmother kept all my letters, so I will again quote them to give you an idea of our travels and your grandfatherís experiences that summer. It was the year of the Colonial Conference in London, and King Georgeís and Queen Maryís Coronation. We crossed on the "Virginian" of the Allan Line for the third time, and she also carried Sir Wilfred Laurier the members of his cabinet who were to be present at the Conference, and many other people who were going over to the Coronation.

 

                                                        High Commissionerís Office
                                                        London,
                                                        May

"Dear Mamma:ó
     We arrived safely in London and are now at the High Commissionerís Office where I am writing this letter. We had a perfectly heavenly time on the boat, and papa wasnít very ill. Margery is better and was not at all sea sick. We have got very sunburnt, for we had fine hot weather all the way across. Sir Frederick and Lady Borden, Sir Wilfred [sic] Laurier and Mr. Brodeur, Col. Sam Hughes, and several other interesting people were on board. Mr. and Mrs. George Washington Stephens of Montreal were among the passengers. She is an Italian woman of strong personality who made things move. She got up a concert, and asked me to sell programmes for it. There were very few young girls on the boat, and many nice men, so you can imagine it was not a difficult matter for us to have a good time. Papa forbade us to go on deck after dinner so imagine his horror when he came and discovered my in a dark corner with three men. It was such a shock to him but he took it quite nicely. When I first met this Mrs. Stephens I thought she was a dreadful looking woman, and later when papa introduced me to her, she said, "You donít like me, but then you are only a baby, come till I introduce some nice men to you." I found her most discerning and very entertaining during the voyage.
     Young Robert Laurier, Sir Wilfredís [sic] nephew was on board with their party, making the grand tour for the first time. He was very proud of his uncle, and when Sir Wilfred appeared on deck, which was not often, as he was not well, young Robert would exclaim in a proud and important voice, "Here is Sir Wilfred." I was touched by his just pride."

 

                                                                  London
                                                                  May 25.

"London has been perfectly lovely so far, so fine and warm, and the sun shines all the time. The other morning after Papa has gone to the city, Margery and I were eating our breakfast at 9:30, when a man came with a note from the Duke asking us to breakfast at ten at Kensington Palace. I wrote a note saying I was sorry Papa was away, but that Margery and I were alone[,] might we come as I would so much like to see him. He sent the man back with a sheet of paper on which was written "Yes do come" A. Margery didnít want to go but I made her. I wore my white suit and Margery her brown velvet. We took a hansom and got there just in time. The Duke and a footman were waiting to receive us. The Duke said, "Here they are." I paid the cabby 1/6 and the Duke said, "Look here, this is my funeral" and gave me about four times what I paid the man. At the table I took it out and said, "Here is the change from your funeral." He turned to Margery and said, "I see she is not disciplined yet." He seemed worried that he hadnít been able to see papa as he was leaving town next day for Scotland for ten days. He is very busy while he is in London entertaining visitors from over seas who have [c]ome over for the Coronation and the Colonial Conference. We are to see more of him, and he said something about Scotland, and that he would put me and Margery up at a Ladiesí Club, and take us to some exhibitions. We are to lunch today, the three of us, at Mrs. Darcy Huttons, and go to a flower show after."

 

                                                                  London
                                                                  June 15th.
"Margery went on Monday to Barnsby Park and from there on Friday she does to Eagleís Carnie, and on the first of July to Moreton Pinkney Manor with Miss Grey who is at present at Eagleís Carnie with Miss Stewart. We shanít see Margery again for six weeks.
     Papa and I are to go to Inverary on the 28th. of June till the 3rd. of July to stay with the Duke at Dalchenna. The party will consist of us, Joan Balfour, and two Colonels. The Duke is to review the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders there. It will be quite a sight and I expect we will have a lovely time. He also sent us tickets for the Coronation. The seats are at Buckingham Palace with the Royal household.
     Lord Dundonald asked us to tea one day at his palace at Wimbleden, but we were out of town. Last Saturday we were to have gone to lunch with him but Margery and Papa lunched with the Howicks, so we are to go another time. Lady Howick wants Margery to spend a day in town with her on her way from Scotland to Moreton Pinkney."

 

                                                                  June 17th.
"We are going to lunch at Lady George Campbellís today. We missed a dinner and a banquet given for the Colonial Premiers, because Papa was at Oxford, where he had gone to lecture and stay with Sir William Osler. We were to have gone as the guests of the Bishop of Ripon.
     Mrs. Lawson wants us to stay with them later and go to tea on the 21st. Lady Elcho wants us to go to lunch on the 27th. The Australian cousins, the MacKays, are in town, and we are to call on them this afternoon."

 

                                                                  Dalchenna
                                                                  July 3rd.
"Here we are once more in the same dear place. The Duke has been so kind and made such a fuss over us. He said my age limit was two and a half and that I was the same baby I was before, only I wear more war paint. If I am dignified or quiet for five minutes, he thinks I must be ill or something. The other ladies of the party are Miss Hilan Lucas, Princess Louiseís Lady-in-Waiting, and her sister Mrs. Stamper. They are just two girls like me and we have become great friends. We are going to stay with Mrs. Stamper in Wales next month.
     The Duke bought us all hat pins, brooches, and books, and he bought me a lovely piece 10 yards of homespun for a suit. It is dyed with a native seaweed, and is a golden brown color, "crochtal" they call it. My plaid dress turned out to be a real Campbell tartan. He liked my yellow suit and said yellow was the Campbell color. When he went in his uniform to review the Highlanders he made me wear my red skating suit, and said he and I were the only two who wore proper dress. Of course he wore the uniform of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. We have both been here just a week it was all the Duke could manage in this busy London season. As it was he told me I was to blame that he missed a lost of London functions. Dalchenna is to be let for the Autumn. The Duke bought us return tickets from London.
     A week ago yesterday we dined at Lord Strathconaís at their London House. His daughter Mrs. Howard and her children were there. We went to Stafford house on Monday, with the Australian cousins the MacKays, to the Duchess of Sutherlandís "At Home." The Duke of Argyll was there and he showed us all over the place. (His mother was a daughter of the late Duke of Sutherland) The MacKays are charming looking people but their Australian accent is queer.
     On Tuesday we lunched at Lord and Lady Elchoís in Codogan Square. Lord Elcho fills his coffee cup half full of sugar and moistens it with a little coffee. Tomorrow we are going to lunch with the Boyd Carpenters. We get into town just in time for it.
     Papa is trying to arrange to be moved over here to the High Commissioners Office, so in that case we shanít be going home and you will all be coming over here. I do hope he will succeed, for he feels that he could do so much more over here."

I am including a letter I got from the Duke just after we came back to London.

 

                                                                  Kensington Palace.
                                                                  July 6th. 1911.

"My Dear Faith:ó
     I shall not know Dalchenna again when it is "faithless." It wonít be worth living in or at. We had a very busy Investiture today at St. James and only one Campbell among the recipients to refresh the onlookers. Next time you must be among the recipients of honours, or you may beófor we had three ladies who preceded, towards the end, some Indian warriors. I am very glad to hear you are none the worse for your excursion in to the Barbaric land and water of your ancestors. You were much appreciated by all the Elements there from the rain drop to the pipers.
     I have been very busy since we parted and today have married a niece, opened a Consumption Training School, helped to decorate 300 gentlemen, and lunched three mayors, and made two speeches, so I ought to "shut up" now oughtnít I?
     The Princess is confined to bed with a bad laryngitis attack, from trying to do too much when I was away. As I have to write about 50 notes, I shall now say good night with all good wishes including one for your self that I may see both of you soon again."

 

                                                                  London
                                                                  July 6th.

"Dear Mamma:ó
     Things have reached a crisis if Papa canít arrange something soon we will have to go back to Canada for his leave will be up. Papa has gone to spend the weekend with Lord Malmsberry, a cousin of George Montague, who was visiting the Greys at G.H. last winter. It seems to me it will all work out beautifully because papa has arrived in England at a crisis when there is an opening for him, and now is his opportunity, and he must take it.
     I am awfully sorry about you having influenza, and the babies, and I will be glad when you will be able to bring them over here, and we can settle down. Mrs. Tuzo has a nice house to let near London in Surrey. The sea voyage will do you good.
     We believe in ghosts, all the people in Scotland so, and mental telepathy, and second sight. They say the Duke has it but wonít talk about it.
     The Boyd Carpenters had such a nice lunch for us. Mr. Pierpoint Morgan the American Millionaire with the strawberry nose was there.
     It would be lovely if we could get everything settled soon and you could all come to England. The house we are looking at is just near Mr. Tuzo and has such a pretty garden. Papa is very keen about it. I feel quite sure he will get something over here. The Duke has faith in his drama, and thinks he could stage it."

 

                                                                  London
                                                                  July 15th.

"Papa went for a couple of days to Moreton Pinkney to see Margery and Miss Grey. They asked me but I didnít go. The Gibsons are in town. They asked me to a nice little tear party at the Lyceum Club. We are to lunch with them on Sunday. Papa is much better, though he is in a constant rush and strain trying to manage things. I will be so glad when everything is finally settled.
     Last night we went to Stafford House to a very nice party, music the first half of the evening then dancing. The Duchess of Sutherland was very nice to me. I wore my yellow dress and it was quite as nice as the other girls wore including Lady Rosemary. Lady Rosemary is rather sweet and piquante, but not pretty. The Marquess of Stafford is fair and fine looking. Nial[l] Campbell was there, and talked to me for a time. He is a regular society man; and I donít quite know what to make of him. He is rather nice looking. I laughed at him and he lectured me. At Dalchenna I was better dressed than the other girls, and I had a different dress for dinner every night. On Friday I am to go driving with Hilan Lucas the Princessí Lady in waiting."

 

                                                                  July 22nd.

"I am at Mrs. Tuzoís again. She is so good to me and next to being with the Duke I would rather be with her. She has the same kind of eyes, and little ways the Duke has. Papa is still with Miss Green and it is very nice for him, because it is in town, and he may come and go as he pleases, and he hates the boarding house. He always has one or more invitations for every weekend, but he is rather worried trying to get his affairs settled. We must know soon definitely what our plans will be. Servants are cheaper here, and the house we are looking at is just 45 minutes by train from London. Papa gives me everything I ask for and is very good to me. All the last two weeks in London I was busy. On Friday evening we went to Stafford House. The Duchess of Sutherland of course is beautiful, but Lady Rosemary is not good looking. Nial[l] Campbell and his sister Elspeth were there. I spoke to Nial[l] but he wouldnít have known me, and papa didnít know him. People here are rather hard on Nial[l], but I really think there is much more to him than they give him credit for because he is a society man about town, but I have seen him in the country. I made him angry and laughed at him, and Papa said he was looking at me out of the corner of his eye when I turned my back because he spoke to the Lady on the other side of him. Elspeth Campbell is very handsome and fond of music. We had music and conversation in the beautiful ball-room till 12.30, and then supper. They were to dance after, but as Mrs. Swainston was sitting up for me we had to go home. As I canít dance very well, and it mightnít be good for my yellow dress it is perhaps just as well. I was talking to Col. Reppington, war correspondent for the "Times." We talked together for about half an hour about Canada and all sorts of things. I didnít know who he was. Then the Duchess came and took me over and introduced me to her girls, Lady Rosabell Sinclair Erskine, her niece, Lady Rosemary and Miss Drake. On Monday I went driving for three and a half hours with Hilan Lucas all over London and through the parks two or three times. We are such good friends and are to spend the whole of Tuesday together. On Thursday I went into town and met Papa and we went to lunch with Lord and Lady Salisbury at 20 Arlington Street. They have a wonderful town house. I asked Lord Salisbury who Col. Reppington was, and he said he was one of the biggest men in England. Papa is busy every minute trying to arrange our affairs. On Tuesday papa and I are going to Windsor with Mrs. Stamper, her husband and Hilan,"

 

                                                                  July 28th.

"All during that hot weather I was so worried about you and the babies and Basil. I know what you must have been through. I have heard two babies cry at once in our house, and that alone is bad enough without you all having flu as well. Things here look pretty cheerful and we must know definitely in a few days what our plans must be. It seems quite hopeless for us to stay in Ottawa. Papa had a cable from Katharine, saying she sails today so she will be here next Saturday, and next Monday the three of us are invited to stay with Mrs. Stamper in Wales who was at Dalchenna with us. I have been with Mrs. Tuzo for two weeks and Papa has come for the week-end. The heat here has been just the same as in Canada. It was 91 in the shade this morning. Of course it is unusual here. We seem to get it after it leaves you a sort of heat wave.
     On Thursday I went to town again and we had lunch with Lord and Lady Pentland. They were so nice to us and after took us to a garden party at the Asquiths in Downing Street, where we met our first liberal party, Lloyd George and his friends. It was most interesting. There are dreadful "Doings" over here just now and the Unionists are quite split up. It is uncertain how they will come out. I will be so glad to get things settled and if possible to get you all over here, anyway to be with you and help with the babies."

 

                                                                  Tunbridge Wells
                                                                  August 4th.

"We have been here since Tuesday."

 

                                                                  August 9th.

"Here we are in London again, and Katharine is with us. She and I have a very nice room together in a family hotel. On Tuesday we shopped all day, had lunch at the Savoy Hotel and went to the theatre in the evening. Today the three of us had breakfast with the Duke at Kensington Palace and tomorrow we go to Wales."

 

                                                                  Llanstinan Hall
                                                                  August 18th.

"We have been here ten days and have been very busy having a good time. Frances is very good to us and likes Katharine very much. Everyday we motor some place where we see old castles, and touch the sea at some point. They have showed us a great deal of the country, it is beautiful and very much like Scotland. On Monday we are going to London. The strikes may be serious. Nobody can go anywhere all the trains and steamships are stopped. Franceís husband, Archie Stamper, is very nice looking, and their baby Douglas is the Dukeís godson. We generally take a picnic lunch or tea with us on our motor trips, and come home in time for a late dinner. Llastinan Hall is an old stone house with a pretty garden."

This is the last of my letters written to my mother that summer. The Duke, who was in France with the Princess, wrote me while we were at the Stampers:ó

"Many thanks for note. Kindest remembrances to your father and you and the Stampers. Do they write "love" with a double L at the beginning? It is a bad sign to use too many letters. I play golf and sleep in alternate sections of the day. The residents pass their day either in motors or in the sea. There is some flying carried on and the flyers take some unwilling baths, as yet without drowning in the sea. Others are building villas and letting them before they are built. I am the only antiquity here."

From the Stampers in Wales we went to visit Mrs. Lawson at Aldborough Manor in Yorkshire, where the Duke wrote to me:ó

"The Ancient hopes you will take care of yourself in this heat, and thanks for letter describing even older things than French correspondents."

The Duke is referring to the old Roman ruins on the Lawson estate from where I had written him describing them. My father was greatly interested in these stones as well as in some ancient monoliths in the surrounding country. He was able to visualize the civilizations peculiar to their times. He would stand in front of one of these stones, and deliver such a realistic oration, that we were carried back ourselves, and could see it all through his eyes, these ancient cities with their living people.